The entrance to the Art & Design Gallery at FIT at 227 West 27th Street
The exhibition space showcases the work of students, faculty, and distinguished alumni, as well as invited guest artists. This new gallery space is located at the entrance of the Pomerantz main building and the back room exhibition space. This features smallers theme shows and showcases the talents of the FIT professors, professionals and Alumni. The shows are constantly rotating offering a fresh approach to contemporary art.
The Current Exhibition:
Creative Industry: The Alumni Journey Lobby and Gallery
Diverse in medium, this exhibition spotlights the career trajectories of several illustrious FIT alumni, highlighting their innovations and interesting journeys through the creative industries. Co-curated by Troy Richards, dean for the School of Art and Design, and Alumni Relations’ Kseniya Baranova, the work on display features photography, fashion, video, weaving, wallpaper, graphic design, and painting.
“Unconventional Minds at Work: 15 Years of HUE, The FIT Alumni Magazine
The showcased art designs
Artwork “Matter 2008” by artist Susanne Tick
The sign of artist Susanne Tick’s work
Artwork from “Unconventional Minds at Work”
Artwork from “Unconventional Minds at Work”
Artwork from “Unconventional Minds at Work”
Resurgence: The Ingenuity of Artisan Work and Hand-crafted Objects Lobby and Gallery
‘Resurgence’ showcases the ingenuity of artisan work and hand-crafted objects from textiles, jewelry, and decorative accessories. Contributors to this show include FIT alumni, faculty, and students, as well as finalists from the 2022 Global Eco Artisan Awards, a recognition given by the AGAATI Foundation.
Artwork of “Resurgence”
The Gallery at FIT during one of the current exhibitions
When I was visiting Rhinebeck for the recent Sheep and Wool Festival (See day One Hundred and Forty-Nine on “MywalkinManhattan.com), I decided to visit Bard College and their contemporary art museum, the Hessel Museum. When approaching the museum, it almost appears to be a fortress with several large pieces of contemporary sculpture on the grounds outside the building.
Once upon entering the museum, you are greeted by many welcoming volunteers who will check your vaccination card and ID and your mask and then you can enter the museum for viewing. At the time I was there, NY State still had a lot of their mandates.
There were a couple of interesting exhibitions going on when I visited. The first one I visited that afternoon was “Closer to Life: Drawings and Works on Paper in the Marieluise Hessel Collection”, which was many of the works of the founder of Bard’s private collection that had been donated to the school. I have to admit that the works were very contemporary with lots of squiggles and political themes.
Many of the works you had to look at a second time to try to find the meaning in them. I was having a tough time relating the titles to the works. Reading the exhibits press release, the exhibition said “Hessel’s dedication to the depiction of the human figure as an essential act of examining the self and social relations. The exhibit focuses, with a few exceptions, on drawing as a discrete, stand-alone practice and preoccupation of artists rather than as a tool to create studies for works in other mediums. Drawing is a way of thinking and the intimacy of the act is echoed in much of the subject matter depicted in the exhibition (Museum website).
Ms. Hessel traveled extensively and had relationships with many artists along the way, who touched on the themes of the day. She traveled from Germany to Mexico City and then onto New York City at different phases of her life and it shows in the collection that she amassed. The collection twists and turns in its theme from room to room.
The other exhibition I toured was the current “With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972-1985” which was an interesting exhibition of design of the home and space which seemed to be an art movement in the early to mid 1980’s that I never noticed when I was in high school and college. It seemed that home design went from the home furnishings to a form of art.
This I had seen the artist’s starting to design things like dishware and placemats for everyday use and in things like wallpaper from the dining room. There was a cross over in home design as artists became more commercialized and their work showed up on walls and floors. It is not too different today with people like Martha Stewart and her paint and home furnishing collections or Halston designing for JC Penny with the Halston II Collection.
Some of the art was quite colorful
The art in those galleries really looked something you would find in the average person’s home in the era. Some of the ‘over the top’ really looked like it belonged on a rug or on wallpaper. As the exhibition’s literature stated, “the exhibition examines the Pattern and Decorative movement’s defiant embrace of forms traditionally coded as feminine, domestic, ornamental or craft based and thought to be patterns and arranging them in intricate, almost dizzying and sometimes purposefully gaudy designs” (Exhibition literature).
The Hessel Museum doesn’t offer just interesting art but it approaches it in a thought-provoking way, asking the patrons to see beyond not just what is on the walls but think about the exhibit from the era in which the art is from and ask ‘does this still ring true today’. The Hessel asks us to think ‘out of the box’ and look at their works from different perspectives.
Some I understood and some I didn’t but I still enjoyed wondering the galleries and exploring the art on its terms. I think that’s what contemporary or just art in general does. We need to think about it. The museum also has a nice little gift shop to explore.
The History of the Hessel Museum:
About CCS Bard:
Established in 1990, the Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS Bard) is an incubator for experimentation in exhibition-making and the leading institution dedicated exclusively to curatorial studies-a discipline exploring the historical, intellectual and social conditions that inform curatorial practice.
The Center for Curatorial Studies has several interconnected parts:
The Hessel Museum of Art, built in 2006, presents experimental group exhibitions and monographic shows and also draws from the Marieluise Hessel Collection of Contemporary Art, comprised of more than 3,000 objects collected contemporaneously from the 1960’s to the present day. The Hessel Museum is open and free to the public. Public sculptures by Franz West, Cosima von Bonin and other artists surround the Museum. Please see the museum page for more details.
CCS Bard hosts a range of public events throughout the year. All events are free and open to the public. Please see upcoming events on the website.
The CCS Bard Archive provides access to a wide range of primary materials documenting the history of the contemporary visuals arts and the institutions and practices of exhibition-making since the 1960’s. Please see our research center page for further details.
The Graduate program in Curatorial Studies is an intensive course of study in the history of contemporary art, the institutions and practices of exhibition making and the theory and criticism of contemporary art since the 1960’s. Throughout its over thirty-year history, the program has actively recruited perspectives underrepresented in contemporary art and cultivated a student body representing a diverse spectrum of backgrounds in a board effort to transform the curatorial field. Please see the school page for further details.
The Center for Curatorial Studies is part of Bard College and located on their Annandale-on-Hudson campus. Bard acts at the intersection of education and civil society, extending liberal arts and sciences education to communities in which it has been undeveloped, inaccessible or absent. Through its undergraduate college, distinctive graduate programs, commitment to the fine and performing arts, civic and public engagement programs and network of international dual-degree partnerships, early colleges and prison education initiatives, Bard offers unique opportunities for students and faculty to study, experience and realize the principle that higher-education institutions can and should operate in the public interest. For more details on the Bard College, please see their website.
On a recent trip to the Hudson River Valley for Fall events I took a tour of Bard Campus to visit their campus and tour Montgomery Place which the college bought from the Hudson River Historical Society in 2016. It is now part of the campus and you can tour the grounds but not the inside of the house.
Montgomery Place on the Bard College Campus
Before 2016 when the house was owned by the Hudson River Historical Society who used to have tours of the mansion. When the family sold the mansion and all its contents to the Society, they left the house untouched when they moved out you got to see how the Livingston family lived not just in current times but with all the historical furniture that came with the house. The former tour used to take you through each room that had antique furniture and decorations but much of the house had been modernized over the years. Older furnishings had either been conserved or slipcovered because of age. Since the house has been sold to Bard College, you can only tour the house by appointment only through the college.
The grounds are still impressive. During the Spring, the formal gardens next to the house are in full bloom and the last time I had taken a tour there, the gardens were being maintained by a local garden club. There were flower beds, herb gardens and cutting gardens on top of the flowing lawns from the house to the river.
The Montgomery Place Gardens are changing from Summer to Fall
In the Fall on a recent visit, most of the gardens had been cut back with a few seasonal flowering bushes still showing color. The trees surrounding the house were turning a gold hue while the lawn that had been freshly cut was still emerald green. The house while a little worn from the outside still looked like it was ready to receive guests for the Fall season in the Hudson River Valley. The views from the back of the house are breathtaking from the window views of the Hudson River and the paths leading to it.
There are all sorts of hiking trails to the Sawkill River and through the forests, a trail down to the Hudson River and tours of the property. The grounds are open from dawn to dusk and there is plenty of parking by the Visitor’s Center along with a history of the estate.
The property had been home Native Americans for at least 5,000 years as a seasonal hunting ground. The Dutch settled in the area in the late 18th century using the Saw Kill River for various mills.
In the late 1770’s, Janet Livingston Montgomery purchased from Abraham Van Benthuysen 242 acres of land on the Hudson River after the death of her husband General Richard Montgomery at the Battle of Quebec. She moved into the home they built after the Revolutionary War. She later had plans made for a Federal style mansion on the riverfront property she bough and moved into her new home, Chateau de Montgomery, in 1805. She established a working farm with the help of friends who gave her tree samples (Wiki).
Upon her death in 1828, the mansion was inherited by her brother, Edward Livingston. He had spent his summers vacationing here with his wife, Louise. They renamed the estate ‘Montgomery Place’. He died the next year and his wife, Louise hired Alexander Jackson Davis to convert the mansion into a more ornate villa. Two wings and exterior decoration were added at this time of the renovation. With the help of Andrew Jackson Downing, a friend of Louise’s and mentor to Davis, she developing the landscapes. Her daughter, Cora Barton worked with the architect on designing garden and conservatory (Wiki).
Upon Louise’s death in 1860, Cora and her husband hired Davis again to build some the earlier outbuildings including Coach House, Swiss Cottage and farmhouse and then extended the landscaping to turn the estate into more ‘pleasure grounds’ and have a separation from the farming operations. The house then passed on to another relative in 1921, John Ross Delafield who added heating and modern plumbing to the house. He and his wife also extended the gardens on the estate as well (Wiki).
Upon his death, his son John White Delafield inherited the house and they opened two corporations to own and operate the property. In 1981, the estate was sold to the Historic Hudson Valley, the historical society. After an extensive renovation, the house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1992 and it was bought by Bard College in 2016 who is its current owner (Wiki).
On a recent trip to New Haven, CT for the Yale versus Cornell game, I had enough time after the game to visit one of the University’s art museum’s that was located down the road from the stadium, the Yale University Art Museum. This four story museum displays the history of art from all over the world. It is by no means a small museum gallery and you will need more than one afternoon this very detailed museum.
The Yale University Art Gallery at 1111 Chapel Street
I started on the first floor with their Ancient Art galleries featuring items from digs that the university sponsored over 100 years ago. There are works from the Ancient Near East, Egypt and Europe from tiles from Mesopotamia to small idols from Egypt and funeral pieces from Europe beautifully displayed and lit. The gallery showed the level of sophistication of these societies and the advancement thousands of years ago. This lead to the Middle Ages Gallery showing the change of art after the fall of the Roman Empire.
The Ancient Galleries were a favorite of mine
Bypassing the other floors, I next ventured next to the “On the Basis of Art: 150 Years of Women at Yale”, a current exhibition that showcased the work of Alumni of the Fine Arts School of Yale whose works were influencing the art community all over the world.
The “On the Basis of Art” exhibition
The show “showcases and celebrates the remarkable achievement of an impressive roster of women artists who have graduated from Yale University. Presented on the occasion of the two major milestones, the 50th Anniversary of coeducation at Yale College and the 150th anniversary of the first women students at the University, who to study at the Yale School of the Fine Arts when it opened in 1869, the exhibition features works draws entirely from the collection of the Yale University Gallery that span a variety of media, such as painting, sculpture, drawings, prints, photography and video since 1891(Yale University website).
The exhibition spread over several galleries displaying all sorts of interesting art. What I enjoyed most was some of the contemporary drawings and sculpture. Their works were colorful and bold some of which I was impressed with the message the works were trying to portray. Some I understood and some I had to take a second look.
One of the works that really captured my attention was the work of a Black media artist from the 1970’s and her views of racism of always feeling like the only one in the room. It was a sensitive and very emotional viewpoint of a educated and sophisticated woman who always felt marginalized. It was a very honest approach to the work and you felt for her.
For the last half hour in the museum, I was able to quickly tour the each of the other galleries touring the Contemporary Galleries, the Asian Galleries, admiring some of the idols on display and then taking a quick tour of the African Galleries admiring masks and statuary.
You will need more than an hour to tour this museum and admire its works. I will be back in the future.
History of the Museum:
(from the Museum’s website)
The Yale University Art Gallery collects, preserves, studies and presents art in all media, from all regions of the globe and across time. The museum’s exceptional collection, numbering nearly 300,000 objects, is the core of its identity. It sustains and catalyzes all we do.
Founded in 1832, The Gallery is the oldest university art museum in America. Today, it is a center for teaching, learning and scholarship and is a preeminent cultural asset for Yale University, the wider academic community and the public. The museum is open to all, free of charge and is committed to engaging audiences through thoughtful, creative, and relevant exhibitions, programs and publications.
The Museum’s Collection:
The Gallery’s encyclopedic collection can engage every interest. Spanning one and a half city blocks and three buildings, the museum features more than 4,000 works on display as well as a rooftop terrace and a sculpture garden. Galleries showcase artworks from ancient times to the present, including vessels from Tang-dynasty China, early Italian paintings, textiles from Borneo, treasures from American art, masks from West Africa, modern and contemporary art, ancient sculptures, masterworks by Degas, Van Gogh and Picasso and more